beginner guitar cost

What is a Beginner Guitar Cost? In many cases, finding the perfect guitar for a beginner has more to do with cost than anything else. That makes sense. You can really go overboard spending on guitar gear if you aren’t careful, and when there’s a chance the wannabe guitarist could lose interest in a month or two you don’t want to risk sending money down the drain. In this post, we will discuss how to choose a guitar for beginners, how to buy guitar for beginners and the best cheap guitar for beginners.

On the other hand, a beginning guitar player needs the right gear to have a solid chance at success. Starting out on a low-quality instrument and uninspiring amplifier is discouraging, and can in some cases impede the learning process.

So, how much should a guitar cost for a beginner? In my experience, that all depends on the new guitar player. In this article I’ll talk about three different types of newbie guitarists and which level of guitar gear is appropriate for them.

Of course you can go down to the local big-box outlet and get a starter guitar for $100, but I’m going to bet you won’t get very far with it before you’re thinking of something else. The instruments presented in this article are quality guitars from major manufacturers, and you’ll get some mileage out of them.

how to buy guitar for beginners

Acoustic or Electric for First Guitar?

I touched on this in my article on how to choose the best guitar for a beginner. There I told you it didn’t matter whether you started on an acoustic or electric guitar and that it was a matter of preference. You should go with whichever inspires you.

When it comes to cost there are few advantages to starting out on acoustic guitar. The biggest one is that you don’t need an amplifier. This means you can cut your budget down a bit, or you can invest in a better-quality guitar from the beginning.

If you’re a parent choosing a guitar as a gift this is something to consider. Starting your child out on an acoustic guitar might be the least expensive way to get them involved with the instrument.

Ultimately, you should choose whichever gets you excited about guitar, but if you are undecided you can probably save a few bucks by starting on an acoustic guitar. Later, if you do decide to move up to an electric guitar, you’ll know you plan to stick with it and won’t need to be so budget-conscious.

Beginner Guitar Cost

For kids in high school or younger, I highly recommend choosing a starter pack made by one of the major guitar companies. This includes brands like Fender, Epiphone, Yamaha and Ibanez. These all-in-one kits contain everything a new guitarist needs to start playing. You’ll spend less than you would have if you were buying everything individually, and save yourself from having to hunt down all the accessories a beginner will need.

The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack is my top recommendation for a newbie starting out on electric guitar.
The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack is my top recommendation for a newbie starting out on electric guitar.

Electric Guitar Starter Packs

Quality electric guitar starter packs include a guitar, amp, cable, picks, gig bag, a tuner, extra strings and often an instructional DVD or book. These are all things you would have had to find on your own, so you may as well get them all in one convenient box. The ballpark range you are looking at here is $200-$300.

Squier by Fender makes an excellent starter pack, featuring their Affinity Stratocaster along with a Frontman 10G amp. This a solid, affordable option for a newbie just starting out on electric guitar.

However, my top recommendation here is the Epiphone Player Pack. If you check out the video below you’ll see there are actually a few packs offered by Epiphone. The Player Pack is plenty good enough to start out with, and you can grab one for about $250.

If you want a better amplifier you can make the jump to the Performance Pack, which costs a little more. One of the great things about a starter kit is that you can continue you use amp for practice even after you’ve moved on to a larger main amplifier. This is yet another reason you want to choose quality brand names for your first guitar setup.Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack (Vintage Sunburst)An Epiphone electric guitar pack will get a newbie started off right. Buy Now

Check Out Epiphone’s Starter Packs

Acoustic Guitar Starter Packs

Good acoustic guitar starter packs generally cost less than electrics and obviously don’t need to include an amp. Like the electric guitar kits, they come with everything you need and you can start playing right out of the box. Again, the basic range here is around $200-$300 for a quality setup.

Yamaha is a guitar company that makes some great stuff for newbies, and I highly recommend their Gigmaker Standard Acoustic Guitar Pack. There’s also a Deluxe version that comes in at a few dollars more.

In my opinion, this price range is a pretty good benchmark for a first acoustic guitar setup for young players. These starter packs aren’t high-grade gear for pros, but they are good quality and reliable for beginners. Plus, since part of your expense isn’t going to the amplifier, typically you can get a better quality pack for around the same cost.

You can find cheap starter packs for under $100, but they aren’t going to have the same value as those made by highly respected guitar companies.

In my opinion, your best bet is to go with a Yamaha kit based on their FG800 acoustic guitar. Whenever I have to pick a single acoustic guitar to recommend to beginners, the Yamaha FG800 is my top choice.Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar Solid Top with Knox Hard Shell Guitar Case,Tuner,Stand,strings,Stap,Capo and PicksThe Yamaha FG800 bundle features a quality a acoustic guitar plus all the accessories you need to start playing today. Buy Now

The Yamaha FG Series

Advice for Serious Beginners

So maybe you’ve played enough Guitar Hero to know you’re destined to be the next Eddie Van Halen. Or, maybe think it’s worth it to start your kid off with a more expensive setup.

This is the second type of starter setup we’ll discuss here: Instruments for serious beginners. If you know you are meant to be a guitar player and nothing is going to stop you, you may wish to start with higher-level gear.

It that’s you, I’m going to recommend a budget of around $500. This means electric guitars around the $300 range and amps around $200. Serious acoustic guitarists can look to guitars upwards of $500.

Often this is an option for adult guitar students or teens who have some disposable income at their command. (That means you have a job and you aren’t expecting your parents to shell out $500 on your first guitar.)

For younger players there is no need to look beyond the starter kits listed above.

The Fender Mustang II is a great amp for a serious beginner for a low cost.
The Fender Mustang II is a great amp for a serious beginner for a low cost.

best cheap guitar for beginners

Electric Guitars Under $300

Electric guitars in this price range are usually guitars for intermediate players, but there’s no reason a newbie couldn’t start out here if they are serious about the instrument. The advantage is you end up with a better guitar, and you don’t have to upgrade so quickly.

I recommend checking out the Epiphone Les Paul LP-100. It’s a step above the Special II from the starter pack discussed above and will serve a guitarist well into their intermediate stages of learning.

The Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster is another great choice. It has a lot of great features you’d expect to see in a more expensive guitar, and a surprising sound. Squier is a brand made by Fender, and the Vintage Modified Strat is available with 3 single-coil pickups for newbies who are more into blues or country.

There are also models with a humbucker and two single-coils for players more into rock and heavier music. However, depending on your goals and musical interests, there are other instruments here that may be to your liking.

The Epiphone LP 100

Amps Under $200

Newbies have a lot of amps to choose from under the $200 mark. I recommend checking out some of the great small-wattage modeling amps out there. Modeling amps are built to sound like various other amps. With the twist of a knob you can go from a Marshall sound to a Fender sound, and they include a whole bunch of effects as well.

These types of amps are useful for newbies who don’t quite know what they’re looking for in an amp. You get to experiment with different amp models and effects, so later on when the time comes to spend big money on a guitar amp you’ll know exactly what you want.

The Fender Mustang II gets my top recommendation here, but there are also great options from brands like Peavey, Marshall and Line 6.Fender Mustang II V2 40-Watt 1×12-Inch Combo Electric Guitar AmplifierA small modeling amps like the Fender Mustang II gives a newbie a wide range of sounds to experiment with. Buy Now

The Fender Mustang Series

Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Half a grand is a price that will land you a solid acoustic guitar that will last you a lifetime. Again, these are really intermediate-level acoustic guitars, but if you want a better-quality instrument from the beginning this is the price range you are looking at.

There are some good choices out there, but my top pick would be the Seagull S6 Original. Seagull is a Canadian guitar company and they build some pretty looking and sounding instruments. You should be able to grab the S6 Original for well under $500.

Taylor has some good options in this price range for smaller guitarists. The Big Baby, Baby Taylor and GS Mini are guitars with down-sized bodies that sound great and may be less intimidating for some newbies.

Guitar Center Looks at the Seagull S6 Original

Setups for Very Serious Beginners

Your music career is a journey! Most players start out with a beginner’s guitar, move up to an intermediate guitar and eventually purchase an expensive instrument and amplifier. But maybe you want to skip all that and just get straight to the more expensive gear.

You started reading this post wondering how much a guitar costs for a beginner and the answer you were expecting probably wasn’t $1000!

Sound crazy? I know a couple of people who have done it, and that puts them in the third category of new guitar player. These were people who were very, very sure they wanted to dedicate a lot of time to learning, practicing and playing guitar. Because it does take hard work, and all the cool gear in the world doesn’t change that.

Personally, I think the starter packs and intermediate-level gear listed above should be plenty for any new guitarists to start out on. For most players, a beginner guitar setup shouldn’t cost more than $200-$300. There’s no reason to spend a bunch of money to get into the guitar. Your sound is about you, not your gear, and the sooner you learn that the better.

But if you’re sure you are destined to play in a band and you don’t want to waste time and money messing around with newbie guitars, you can certainly spend more. It’s your money. Spend it on whatever makes you happy!

Good luck, wherever your musical journey takes you!

Guitar Buying Guide: What To Know Before You Buy an Acoustic or Electric Guitar

Understanding how to select the right guitar type that’s best for your learning style and playing needs can help make the guitar buying process much easier. So, before we can officially salute those who are about to rock, we (along with our friends at Beginner Guitar HQ) have a few tips and recommendations to help you get started:

  1. Know the term “tonewood.”
  2. Know which guitar style is best for beginners.
  3. Know the types of electric guitars.
  4. Know budget-friendly accessories for your guitar.

1. Yes, “Tonewood” Is A Thing!

Wood is favored for guitar crafting. A guitar needs to hold itself together as well as produce a great tone (aka, “tonewood”). Tonewood has the capacity to effectively produce brighter, sharper sounds as well as warmer, deeper overtones.

However, not all types of wood are suitable for crafting guitar parts, which is why choosing the right type of tonewood is important! Below are three common wood types used in crafting:

Maple

  • Primarily used for the neck and fretboard
  • Produces an extremely clear sound
  • Maple resonates well and produces defined tones

Mahogany

  • Strong, but malleable
  • Produces a full, yet twangy sound
  • Many favor the red hue of the wood

Ash 

  • Sustains chords and notes
  • Strongest and most economical wood type

Each wood is used for its particular characteristics, so research the different woods suitable for the specific style of guitar you are interested in playing.

2. Beginner? Learn On The Acoustic First.

For a beginner guitarist, we recommend test-driving an acoustic. Acoustic guitars are one of the most beginner-friendly musical instruments and can be learned quickly.  Starting on the acoustic is more meant for learning chords and finger placement, as well as understanding how to amplify your sounds or quiet your sounds. Plus, many are low in cost, so they won’t break your budget!

Advantages Of An Acoustic

  • Portable
  • Doesn’t need electricity to play
  • Doesn’t need a lot of equipment other than a guitar pick
  • Usually, strings won’t hurt the fingers as much compared to the electric guitar strings

Washburn’s Apprentice Series

Never underestimate the wisdom of veteran guitarists when it comes to brand and style advice! Although many musicians will have their preferences, we recommend Washburn’s Apprentice Series as being a great starter for beginner musicians:

Credit: Washburn

  • Best to use when learning finger placement and sound desired
  • Most affordable
  • Premium spruce top
  • Mahogany back and sides for a full rich tone

Washburn guitars have plenty of series and styles to choose from. Do some research to find the best acoustic for your learning style!

3. Know Your Electric Guitars.

When choosing an electric guitar, decisions will rely more on the components and the quality of the craftsmanship rather than the type of wood used.

An electric guitar relies on the wood simply as a strong base capable of sustaining the tension of the strings, as opposed to an acoustic guitar using the wood to amplify the sound. The three most-common body styles are featured below:

Solid body

  • Most common for rock, pop, and country genres
  • Lacks a hollow resonating chamber, which means the sound can be amplified louderCredit: Guitar Center

Hollow body

  • Most common for jazz or blues genres, plus rock n’ roll
  • Tone is silky smooth and electrified
  • Has a large resonating chamberCredit: Guitar Center

Semi-Hollow body

  • Versatile and can adapt to any genre
  • Has a hollow resonating chamber paired with a solid center blockCredit: Guitar Center

Don’t forget!
A few components often overlooked are the switches, tone knobs and volume knobs just below the strings. Are they easy to reach and control with the hand not picking or strumming?

4. Budget For The Accessories, Too!

Enthusiastic shoppers may forget about the extras needed once the actual guitar is purchased. Our friends at Beginner Guitar HQ list several great products, including amp suggestions and guitar cases, but we’ve chosen a few common accessories below that are budget-friendly for beginners.

Picks

They are the tiniest accessory that can often cause the biggest headache for musicians. That’s because you need to find the right material and thickness that can help you strum or pluck without having to use your fingers all the time. If a pick is too flimsy, they can break easily or won’t provide the right sound you are looking for.

ChromaCast CC-Sample-12PK

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Stands

Stands can be made out of different materials, but they should all be durable. The materials can dictate how much they will stand with your instrument and how much they will be able to shield it from danger and the like.

Top Stage Pro

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Storing your instrument in the right temperature is important. If you are not using your instrument, make sure you store it in the right place to avoid such hassle and damage to your instrument in the long run.


Straps

When you choose the best guitar strap, the length can vary depending on the desired length or type of guitar that you have, as well as how tall or short you are.

Protec Leather Ends

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You don’t want your guitar to be too far from your body, making it uncomfortable to play. The thickness can also have an impact, as a thickness that is wider can mean more support for your shoulders.


Tuner

It is always unpleasant to hear an off tune guitar, so you should make it a habit to tune your instrument before every performance or even practice. Tuning your guitar as quickly as possible is important because it will help save up on setup time; too long a setup time will get the audience bored eventually!

D’Addario NS

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The standard tuning of a guitar is E A D G B E.


Strings

Different guitars have different purposes. Consider your choice in strings to meet the criteria that you expect so as not to waste money in the long run. Electric strings run on amplifier power and can produce loud sounds while acoustic strings are more for the quiet practice purposes, small venues and subtle music.

The gauge or thickness can play a role in a string set. Thickness is how much volume or bass you want or how much treble you want for your strings.

D’Addario EXL 110-3D *for electric guitars

For Electric Guitars. Purchase on Amazon

Acoustic guitars normally use nylon or steel strings. Electric guitars use stainless steel or nickel.

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